The 9th Annual Maui Matsuri is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16, at Maui Community College (MCC) to honor Japanese traditions with an array of cultural festivities that the whole family can enjoy.
The festival’s annual theme of “Kodomo No Tame Ni” translates to “for the sake of the children.” It is definitely a colorful event that young and old alike will take delight in with this year’s wonderful selection of art, entertainment, contests, craft and food.
Co-chairs Kay Fukumoto, Yuki Lei Sugimura, Tiffany Iida and Lynn Araki-Regan hope to produce a festival that grows more spectacular every year and strive to expose the mainstream population to the beautiful diversity of Japanese cultural arts and tradition.
A free Family Movie Night will be held on Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the MCC Student Center within the Pilina Building. Online voting was held to determine which films would be shown, and the winners are Picture Bride and Spirited Away!
Picture Bride—written and directed by Kiyo Hatta—will be shown at 6:30 p.m. and shares the story of young Riyo, a young lady who travels to Hawai‘i in 1918 to marry a man she has never even met. Hoping to escape a troubled past, Riyo unfortunately finds disappointment as her new husband is twice her age and the islands aren’t the paradise she had imagined.
The second film, Spirited Away, will be shown at 8 p.m. Written and directed by animator Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli, the film is about a sullen 10-year-old girl in the middle of her family’s move to the suburbs who wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches and monsters, where humans are changed into animals.
Beverages and snacks will be available for sale during film night.
The festival continues on Saturday, May 16, from 3 to 9 p.m. at MCC, where organizers will turn the grassy knolls of the campus into a bunkamura, or Japanese village. The area will be lined with booths selling a variety of craft items, yummy Japanese fare and more.
Check out the stage that will be set up to showcase the best of Maui’s Japanese and Okinawan talent, as well as traditional martial arts and eating contests. Contestants will be sought out for the saimin and natto eating contests, and the Cosplay (costume play) contest.
Keiki will have a world of wonder to play in with the Kodomo Korner, where lots of hands-on craft activities, such as origami and gyotaku (Japanese fish printing), will be available.
Japanese superheros Kikaida and friends will headline the event in celebration of the 35th anniversary of Kikaida in Hawai‘i. Kikaida will give a gift to any child who goes up on the stage with a superhero costume. Of course, Kikaida costumes would be fitting, but any superhero costume will do.
Festival-goers can also participate in Kikaida Karaoke, enter to win prizes and receive free superhero balloons. The star of the Kikaida and Inazuman series, Mr. Ban Daisuke, will be available for free autographs and photos.
The 5th Annual Manga and Art Drawing Contest will also take place, where the two categories of Traditional Art and Manga Style will be judged in three age divisions. (Magna is a mixture of comic book, modern art and literature, which creates a unique and popular Japanese art form). The top three winners that successful depict the best “Matsuri” (Japanese festival) theme will be chosen from each category and age division, and will receive cash prizes. Entries can be made by Saturday at 3:30 p.m. or submitted beforehand at John Henry Photography Inc. in Wailuku. For more information on this contest, contact Lyndra Okamoto at 276-2995 or Gwen Henry at 250-9666.
The festival concludes with a community obon dance starting at 7:30 p.m. Wear your hapi coat or kimono, and twirl yourself about with others as they dance into the night.
Admission is free and parking is free for the event.
For more information, visit www.mauimatsuri.com or call 283-9999.